A common mistake entrepreneurs make, particularly those in a creative field like writing, speaking, singing, etc., is that they go to great lengths to seek advice and guidance…from horrible sources.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a terrible headshot that was defended with something like,
“Well, my mom took it…she’s a professional.”
Feel free to substitute dad, wife, husband, son, daughter, college roommate, best friend, whatever, for “mom.” Bad business choices, whether they’re something as seemingly small as the headshot on your website, or something as large as where to invest your money, can usually be traced back to one thing—crappy advice from someone who was totally unqualified to give it.
Seeking outside opinions is one of the key qualities that separates successful entrepreneurs from failed ones. You have to be coachable, able to take advice, and follow directions.
However, something that often gets lost is the fact that those outside opinions have to be from people whose opinion actually counts.
Guess what? If that person whom you’re taking direction from is your “mom”…it’s time to fire her.
Why is “mom” in quotations? Because “mom” can really be anybody.
A “mom” in this sense is the person who loves everything you do. It’s the person who doesn’t stop at just telling you your bad headshot is great, they also show it off to EVERYONE they know.
- “Mom” is the person who has no track record of success in your field whatsoever.
- “Mom” is the person who has never made money off his or her opinion.
- “Mom” is the person with no skin in the game, other than the fact that he or she wants to see you succeed.
Remember, YOUR livelihood is depending on your ability to sell yourself as a brand. If you’re going to seek an outside opinion, you better find one from someone who has THEIR livelihood tied up in you as well.
Many new entrepreneurs have this crazy notion that opinions are not worth paying for. They’ll just get their friend who designed one website back in college for free to look at the website they just spent an entire month creating. They’ll just get their friend who majored in English to edit the manuscript on which their dreams are riding.
Do you SEE how crazy this way of thinking is?!
If you have chest pains, are you going to ask your next-door neighbor what his opinion is? Are you asking your friend who occasionally donates blood?
No! You’re going to get your butt to a hospital right away! You want someone who is educated and well informed. And not only that, once you get a diagnosis, you’ll probably do some research to determine who the BEST is in the entire field.
If you want your career as an entrepreneur to take off, start treating it like it’s an extension of your physical wellbeing. Think of it as something you would do anything for, like a child. Nurture it with the best you have to offer.
Stop trusting opinions from people who will still be able to eat whether they are right or wrong.